Dorothy Parker: What Fresh Hell Is This?
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Marion Meade's engrossing and comprehensive biography of one of the twentieth century's most captivating women
In this lively, absorbing biography, Marion Meade illuminates both the charm and the dark side of Dorothy Parker, exploring her days of wicked wittiness at the Algonquin Round Table with the likes of Robert Benchley, George Kaufman, and Harold Ross, and in Hollywood with S. J. Perelman, William Faulkner, and Lillian Hellman. At the dazzling center of it all, Meade gives us the flamboyant, self-destructive, and brilliant Dorothy Parker.
This edition features a new afterword by Marion Meade.
The owner of the other dog refused to take responsibility and even had the temerity to claim that Robinson provoked the attack. Dorothy was indignant. “I have no doubt that he was also carrying a revolver,” she said vehemently to Aleck Woollcott. As comfort until the dachshund recovered, friends gave her a huge stuffed English sheepdog. Robinson failed to pull through, however. Dorothy, who had been exceptionally attached to him, grieved inconsolably. Earlier that year, when Vanity Fair asked
friend thought that even if he did not sleep with men, he was attracted to them. “He was not a queen, in fact was very manly, but there was no doubt he was homosexual. Having that sort of mate suited Dorothy exactly. I don’t think she was ever very amorous. It was surprising how many gay people hung around their house, but it didn’t have to be that way. If she had wished, there could have been an entirely different crowd.” Around the neighborhood women, Dorothy did her best to maintain a regal
it was time to leave. Lillian Hellman only appeared when she was summoned in times of crisis, and she fled once the emergency was over. Dorothy’s alcoholism made her “dull and repetitive,” she wrote, and in any case she was unable to assume “the burdens that Dottie, maybe by never asking for anything, always put on her friends.” Dorothy pretended not to notice Hellman’s neglect. On those rare occasions when Hellman did visit, she greeted her with, “Oh, Lilly, come in quick. I want to laugh
hate songs—she attacked relatives, actresses, and men—and Edna Chase had agreed to try her as a special-features writer. One of her articles dealt with fashionable breeds of dogs, other pieces covered home decoration, hair and beauty care, knitting, and weddings, themes that have always been the staple fare of fashion magazines. Dorothy’s treatment of these subjects was unusual because she played with them and invariably wound up mocking them. When she wrote about interior decoration, recklessly
there. She could be witty on paper, but her forte was oral agility. She was truly at her best in conversation, where she presented the routine she had perfected: demure, deadpan expression, the disparity between a patrician voice modulated to just above a whisper and her inexhaustible repertoire of obscenities. Wicked put-downs seemed to flow effortlessly. Hearing that a friend had hurt her leg while visiting London, she voiced a naughty suspicion: Probably the woman had injured herself while